September 17, 2021

Red Mass for legal professionals set for Oct. 5 at Indy cathedral

Judges process into SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 7, 2020, at the beginning of the annual Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

Judges process into SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 7, 2020, at the beginning of the annual Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

The St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana’s annual Red Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1400 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.

A dinner will follow in Assembly Hall at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center across the street from the cathedral.

Susan Brooks, the U.S. representative for Indiana’s 5th congressional district from 2013-21, will be honored by the society during the evening with its Woman for All Seasons award. She will also be the keynote speaker during the dinner.

A Red Mass is a centuries-old tradition of those who work in law to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the legal term in the early fall. The liturgy is called a Red Mass because of the red vestments worn during it, red being symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

All are invited to take part in the Mass and dinner. Judges, attorneys, law students and others who work in the legal field are especially encouraged to attend. Cost for the dinner is $35. Registration can be made at cutt.ly/RedMass.

Judge David Certo, who serves in the Marion County Superior Court, is president of the society.

“Lawyers know the law, but we all—especially judges—experience wisdom in the words of the prophet Micah, to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,” said Certo, quoting Micah 6:8. “The Red Mass is an opportunity for us to ask God’s help in living as he requires and to help each other listen for his voice in our lives.”

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is the scheduled principal celebrant for the Red Mass. Trained in canon law, Archbishop Thompson appreciates gathering annually for worship with other legal professionals.

“In the Red Mass, the Church prays for all those involved in the legal system that they may be guided by the wisdom and grace of the Holy Spirit in all their endeavors,” he said. “It is important that we pray and express support for all those in the legal profession, a noble service to the dignity of the person and the common good of society.”

The society is named after St. Thomas More, a 16th-century English lawyer and statesman, who died as a martyr when he refused to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church in England.

The All Seasons award given by the society is a reference to a description of More by his good friend and renowned Renaissance scholar Desiderius Erasmus, which was used as the title of Robert Bolt’s 1954 play about More and was the title of the 1966 Oscar-winning motion picture adaptation of the play.

Certo said Brooks is a worthy recipient of the award.

“Susan Brooks has focused relentlessly on serving other people in our community and our country,” he said. “In Congress, she worked to improve the institution by finding common ground among people from many backgrounds and political ideologies.

“Susan demonstrated her commitment to ethical conduct in Indiana, and she helped make Washington a more principled, humane place for her colleagues and the people she served. Our profession needs examples like Susan to remind us that loving our neighbor requires both compassion and honesty about how we can achieve the results we want.”
 

(For more information about the St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana and about the Red Mass, send an email to Judge David Certo at stthomasmoreindy@gmail.com.)

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